$52 Million Settlement Reached Over Dairy Industry’s Nationwide Price-Fixing Conspiracy, Cow Killing
SAN FRANCISCO – Consumers in 15 states and the District of Columbia who purchased dairy products are now entitled to a portion of a $52 million settlement, culminating a massive antitrust lawsuit filed against the nation’s largest dairy producers who allegedly artificially inflated the price of milk and other dairy products by killing hundreds of thousands of cows, according to Hagens Berman.
The suit was originally filed in 2011 against big name food conglomerates, agribusinesses and the nation’s largest dairy producers, including Land O’ Lakes, as well as the National Milk Producers Federation, aka Cooperatives Working Together (CWT), Dairy Farmers of America Inc., Dairylea Cooperative Inc. and Agri-Mark Inc.
The class-action suit stated that defendants engaged in a nationwide conspiracy to limit the production of raw farm milk by prematurely slaughtering cows, illegally causing the price of milk and other fresh milk products to artificially inflate.
“The biggest dairy producers in the country, responsible for almost 70 percent of the nation’s milk, conspired together in a classic price-fixing scheme, forcing higher prices for a basic food item onto honest consumers and families,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. “We’re pleased that this settlement will return some of what consumers lost due to this massive fraud perpetrated for ill-gotten gains.”
“Compassion Over Killing is proud to have spearheaded the research that led to this class action suit brought by Hagens Berman on behalf of millions of consumers harmed by the dairy industry," says Cheryl Leahy, General Counsel for Compassion Over Killing. "Not only was the price of milk artificially inflated, but this scheme ultimately also cost 500,000 young cows their lives.”
How to Claim Your Portion of the Settlement
If you purchased milk or other fresh milk products (cream, half and half, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, or sour cream) while a resident of Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia or Wisconsin at any point between 2003 to the present, you may be eligible for reimbursement.
“With this settlement, we are happy to offer those affected an incredibly easy reimbursement process, with no proof of purchase required,” Berman added. “After being duped by big dairy corporations, we wanted consumers to have a convenient method of payment.”
Affected consumers may choose to:
- Submit a simple online claim form online or by mail by Jan. 31, 2017. The simple online claim form usually takes only 3-5 minutes. Claims may be submitted online at www.boughtmilk.com, or by mail to Fresh Milk Products Antitrust Litigation, PO Box 43430, Providence, RI 02940-3430,
- Exclude themselves,
- File an objection, or
- Attend the final approval hearing scheduled for Dec. 16, 2016.
Those who submit a claim may opt for cash, with no proof of purchase required. If final approval is granted to the settlement, class members who have filed valid and timely claims will receive cash payments distributed directly into an online account of their choosing, e.g., Amazon, PayPal or Google Wallet account.
There will be two different levels of fixed cash payments, based on class member’s purchases and the total number of class members making claims. Any remaining funds may be distributed in a second round using grocery loyalty cards to be automatically loaded with a fixed dollar amount, based on triggering purchases of milk or fresh milk products in the relevant states, or, depending on the funds remaining, distributed to the Attorneys General for the class jurisdictions for use in prosecuting consumer antitrust claims.
For further details about the settlement, please see the settlement agreement available at www.boughtmilk.com, or contact class counsel at Hagens Berman. For questions about the claims process, contact the Settlement Administrator at 1-877-417-4561, via email at [email protected] or visit www.boughtmilk.com.
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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a law firm with offices in 10 cities and has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List eight times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.